Saturday 3 May 2014

Quite possibly the best week of my life

Many of you know that I've just spent a week in Italy for which I went for an amazing race. I had the great privilege of representing my running club - Italia Running Club at the Sarnico Lovere Run.
Apart from being an amazingly beautiful course in a stunning area, I got to spend the time with my good friend and amazing runner, Michelle Lowry. (Stay tuned for a blog post about her soon - you will be blown away!)
In addition, I spent the few days before and after the race on my own in Milan.
Basically, I was in heaven.
Add to that, despite not feeling the best on the start line - I'd fallen over while running 10 days before the race and ended up with stitches, and by race day I had a cold - I ran faster than I ever dreamed I could. I finished 4th female in a time of 1.34.06 for the 25km run. Amazingly (well amazing to me anyway), I went through 21km in well under 80 minutes. Something I never dreamed I could really do. I was absolutely stoked.
Michelle also ran so well to finish in a time of 1.36.53 and in 8th position. Last time she ran, Michelle finished 4th, but considering that she's now doing a PhD and has three sons, this is even more incredible. You can check out the full list of results here.
I've got to say, the luxury of travelling to a race and having time to focus on just racing was amazing.
And as much as I love my family, having some time to myself (mostly spent shopping - but hey, it's Milan!!! Did anyone say designer outlet stores??? What's girl to do!) was also great. I never really appreciated having time to myself until I had a child. I felt like I was young and backpacking again - except that this time I could actually afford to buy food and drink in bars! Amazing! Incredible! The best thing ever!!
Here is what I got up to....
Waiting to board my flight to Milan... practicing the first in a series of week long selfies. Can you tell I've finally discovered Instagram? 
Pre-race warm up run in the beautiful and sunny Milan
Pre-race run with Michelle - we made it to Sarnico
The reason I look so happy in this photo is because I know I'm done running until the race start.
The obligatory pre-race finish line photo
We look so fit at the race pack pickup! 
Practicing for when I really cross the finish line

Pre-race ham loading
Amazing food, though I don't think I've eaten quite so much ham in my entire life! 
Obligatory pre-race gear shot. I'm such a newbie at getting an elite start that I still LOVE it when I get my own special number with my name on it.
Obligatory pre-race pretty nails; I'm pretty sure they make me run faster. 
The start line on race day; wet, busy, crowded.
Pre-race; do we look nervous? You can barely see my scabby knees. 
The top three finishers; I took this photo so that if I'm ever back at this race, I know what I'm aiming for.  
Post-race; wet and cold but happy. 
And now the fun bit; post race EATING!!!
Can anyone say happy? Chocolate affogato! Bliss! 
Pretty happy about the size of the calzone
Obviously, I finished the entire thing and I also may have helped Michelle with a slice of her pizza.  
I was still not too full for desert  
Mmmmm pizza
Yet more desert
One of the best meals I've ever eaten. Love that lovely Milanese veal. 
It just would not be Italy without chocolate!
Nor would it be Italy without appretivs!
Prosecco at the Armani Bamboo Bar. It had to be done. Plus the excellent Italian tradition of bringing snacks to accompany drinks meant I didn't need dinner. Amazing!
Incredibly decedent afternoon tea on my last afternoon in Milan. 
Far out! I love coffee!
Proof I did not just sit in cafes and bars; Michelle took us to Bergamo post race; that girl has got energy! I was trying to avoid walking. 
We also went to Como and Bellagio on Lake Como; possibly one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Beautiful Bellagio  
After Michelle left, I concede  that I spent a lot of time, sitting down in cafes. My legs were tired.  

The view from my hotel window in Milan; so Italian!
Proof I did more than shop and eat! The Duomo in Milan. 
I may have bought shoes at D&G.... (though only at the outlet!)
Maybe also at Gucci. I had no choice. I saw them, and they were so cheap. I was like, "C'mon! I have to!" I used all my willpower in the race. I had none left over to resist spending money on shoes. 

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